Encouraging your INFP loved ones

INFPs, as you may know, are some of the best motivators out there. Empathy is engraved into their souls, and they yearn to get a deeper understanding into other people and what drives them. They find it to be a way of energizing their own minds when they help encourage other people to be the best, most productive versions of themselves. However, the Mediators often end up lacking the motivation they need to keep moving forward and pursuing their goals. 

The question, “how to help encourage an INFP?” is one that often swarms in the heads of people who love the INFPs in their lives and wish for them to succeed, and may also keep some INFPs up at night (since they are highly introspective). Let us break down the reasons why an INFP may lose their sense of purpose and figure out just how to help our beloved motivators get their motivation back. 

It’s a cold, cruel world.

INFPs tend to have a natural awareness of how terrible the world can be, and even though their compassions drives them to keep helping the people around them, the feeling of not being enough to fix the world and fight all injustices can often overwhelm them. At times like these, what they need is affection and support from the people close to them. When I say that, I hope that it is kept in mind that forcing an INFP to face their feelings and/or rushing them to deal with their emotions can spook them and make them hide deeper in the metaphorical cave that they are. 

In such times, what they need the most is space to feel and contemplate their emotions, take their time, and know that there are people who would listen to them and not make them feel like they’re being overly dramatic. Picture setting up a fort on a rooftop, with fairy lights, some comfort food, music or books or a TV show they may enjoy, and maybe the company of someone who is willing to be there for them while also giving their thoughts the space needed. Something like this usually does the trick and the world witnesses the INFP coming out the other side, a newly motivated, more than energetic individual! 

What is with all these boxes?

The INFPs are generally creative, out of the box thinkers. When they feel like their creativity is being caged, they lose all motivation. This usually happens when they’re being given tasks or projects that are planned down to a T, and there is no room for them to utilize their imagination and showcase their resourcefulness. 

INFPs are free-spirited, and it helps if they choose a career that compliments their individual identity. If an INFP is stuck at a typical corporate job or have had to choose a career path that contradicts with who they are as a person, they are most likely to lose their inner drive and burn out very quickly. It would help for them to be encouraged to switch to careers that might be better suited for their personality.

But that is not always an option. In which case, helping relieve their stress by being spontaneous and providing them with opportunities to let go of their worries for a while is definitely going to be beneficial. Take them out on a peaceful, long drive at night. Take them on a vacation, and if not, plan a nice little stay-cation. It doesn’t have to be a fancy solution, really. Just something that they would find relaxing, help them recharge, and make them feel valued and appreciated.

It might also help to remind an INFP of why they do what they do. That’s right! The Mediators go above and beyond for the people they have meaningful connections with. Giving them occasional reminders of who they’re working or struggling for (parents, children, families etc.), helps maintain a sense of purpose that the INFPs so desperately need.

One thing at a time, please. 

Another thing that can cause an INFP to lose motivation is being overwhelmed with tasks. When they are given numerous things to do simultaneously, INFPs can easily lose focus and this can cause them to altogether opt out of doing anything at all.

It helps when they have someone who can get them to take a breather and regroup. It is also highly beneficial if you support them in breaking down tasks, and taking them on one at a time, helping them organize things based on urgency, importance and time limitation. Ask them to start small, like taking a shower and getting dressed. Guide them through the process. They would be highly appreciative of it, I swear. 

I can’t even, with this logic. 

INFPs often come up with complex ideas which are too grand for them to break down into organized, sequenced, step by step processes. Keep in mind, they struggle with logical thinking. Doesn’t mean they can’t do it, but they do often need support from their loved ones. Encourage them, show them that you have faith in their vision. Verbal acknowledgements would be really helpful. If they begin to get overwhelmed by the process of it all, remind them of how much their work would help other people in the grand scheme of things. Focus on the feelings. That’s where they feel right at home.

Procrastination nation. 

Unfortunately for them, INFPs are great procrastinators. This is because they have a tendency to lose themselves in their own endless world of imagination, or get distracted by outside stimuli, while easily ignoring the tasks at hand. Boredom that often comes with repetitive tasks or having to do things they don’t particularly enjoy can be the death of their productivity.

And since INFPs also don’t really like being forced into doing things, helping them with this one can be a little tricky. The cognitive function of Extraverted Thinking is found to be unconscious in INTP type personalities. This means that thinking logically, keeping a schedule and working in an organized manner doesn’t come naturally to INFPs. But that doesn’t mean it cannot be developed. What they need is to learn how to develop their own schedules and stick to them, by slowing down and taking things one day at a time.

Since INFPs are ruled by their emotions and feelings, what the people around them can do to encourage them is to play on these emotions and show them how important their work is, and what it will help them achieve; for themselves, their loved ones, as well as for the world. For example, if it is a book they’re writing, in order to continuously encourage them and keep them motivated, they can be reminded of what it would mean to share their work, their story with other people, and how it might ultimately help everyone.

They can also benefit from being surrounded by people who have a strong Te (extraverted thinking). INFPs can observe and adopt habits from such people and help themselves. Having partners who possess a strong Te can be life-changing for an INFP. They need someone they’re close to, someone they respect, and someone who is willing to be patient with them so they can emulate their logical thinking patterns and become more efficient and productive.

Conclusion 

INFPs, like any other human being, do struggle with motivation. But since they believe in having a sense of purpose and having something to fight for, it is difficult to keep an INFP down for long. But in order to get back on their feet, they may need encouragement from the people they trust and connect with, as well as time to unwind and reflect. Most importantly, they need reminders for why they must continue to struggle for the responsibilities they have been burdened with, instead of simply drifting off into the vast world of their imagination.

Bibliography and citations

Myers, I. B. (1962). The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: Manual (1962). Consulting Psychologists Press.

https://www.myersbriggs.org

Drenth, D., 2021. Introverted Feeling (Fi) vs. Ti, Ni, & Fe | Personality Junkie. [Online] Personality Junkie. Available at: <https://personalityjunkie.com/12/introverted-feeling-fi-vs-ti-ni-fe/> [Accessed 1 November 2021].

Cherry, K., 2021. INFP Personality Profile and Characteristics. [Online] Verywell Mind. Available at: <https://www.verywellmind.com/infp-a-profile-of-the-idealist-personality-type-2795987> [Accessed 1 November 2021].

Stafford, S., 2019. INFP Motivation: How the INFP Can Overcome Procrastination – Personality Growth. [Online] Personality Growth. Available at: <https://personalitygrowth.com/infp-motivation-how-the-infp-can-overcome-procrastination/> [Accessed 3 November 2021].

Stafford, S., 2017. Here’s How to Best Encourage Each Personality Type – Personality Growth. [Online] Personality Growth. Available at: <https://personalitygrowth.com/heres-how-to-best-encourage-each-personality-type/> [Accessed 3 November 2021].

Storm, S., 2019. Here’s How You Want to Be Encouraged, Based on Your Myers-Briggs® Personality Type. [Online] Psychology Junkie. Available at: <https://www.psychologyjunkie.com/2019/07/06/heres-how-you-want-to-be-encouraged-based-on-your-myers-briggs-personality-type/#h-the-infp> [Accessed 3 November 2021].

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